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September 11th, 2012

In 2006, to commemorate the five year anniversary of 9/11, I joined The 2,996 Project - a project designed to remember the victims, and celebrate their lives. Each victim was assigned a blogger. Each blogger will write about their assigned victim. Not having known our victims, we rely on the memorials, tributes and stories posted around the internet. We hope to memorialize the beauty of each individual life, and celebrate the people we will never have a chance to know, nor could ever have known we would want to.

My assignment was - and remains - Kenneth Alan Simon. Today, all these years later, I remember him and think of his family. I pray and send them thoughts of healing.

Kenneth was a 34 year old equities trader who worked on the 104th floor of the North Tower for Cantor Fitzgerald. He was married, and had one adopted daughter. He lived in Seacaucus, N.J. He loved baseball, learning, and walking his dog, Bailey.

According to his wife, Karen, Kenneth had a passion for learning. He spent his dog-walking time memorizing baseball stats and triva (sounds like my husband!!). He remembered important dates like when he got engaged and when he got married by associating them to Yankee's milestones. Before he died, he was teaching himself to play the piano, and was working on "Yesterday" by The Beatles (I'm jealous!!). He was also an accomplished chocolate chip pancake cook (now I'm really jealous!!!).

Kenneth had a passion for his family, and for being a father. He took his four month old daughter, Maya, to the South Street Seaport, just so she could see where he and her mother got engaged. Karen said he was constantly taking Maya out for walks, and taking cuddly naps with her on the couch. His wife says the moment he laid eyes on Maya, he looked into her big brown eyes and was lost - he fell in love with her. Kenneth and his wife were working on building their dream home, a five bedroom house, which he planned to fill with adopted children. This was obviously a man who loved with a passion - a "family guy" who loved his wife, and looked forward to raising his children. A father, in every sense of the word...something there are far too few of, these days.

Karen describes Kenneth as a sweet, grounded, generous man...her soul mate. She feels blessed to have had him in her life, and even if she had only had him for one day, she would have been grateful for the time that she had by his side. I have a husband like that, too, and I can totally relate - sometimes, I want to strangle him. Sometimes, we struggle. But I know what an incredibly lucky woman I am to have someone who loves me as deeply as he does...and I know how devestated I would be if, in the blink of an eye in an act of unthinkable, senseless violence, he was taken from me. I can imagine Karen's torture.

Both Kenneth and his father, Arthur, were lost to their families on 9/11. In the crashing of a single plane into the north tower, his family suffered a double crushing blow that they will never forget. His mother lost her loving husband, and her first born child. His wife lost her devoted husband, and her father in law. And his daughter lost her grandfather and her father. Three generations of women were left permanently wounded, and they will never be the same.

Kenneth is remembered by his family for his joy for life, for the radiant glow that lit his face when his wife or daughter entered a room, and for his desire to always keep growing. He is remembered by me as the very real face of a very sureal nightmare. I hope his family knows that when we mourn this collosal tragedy as a nation, we are also mourning the earthshattering tragedy that happened in their lives, too. They will all be in my prayers.

Rest in Peace, Kenneth.